Major Prophets – Isaiah 40-42

To read Isaiah 40:1-31, click HERE.

“Be silent before me, you islands!
    Let the nations renew their strength!
Let them come forward and speak;
    let us meet together at the place of judgment.
“Who has stirred up one from the east,
    calling him in righteousness to his service?
He hands nations over to him
    and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
    to windblown chaff with his bow.
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
    by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through,
    calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord—with the first of them
    and with the last—I am he.”
The islands have seen it and fear;
    the ends of the earth tremble.
They approach and come forward;
    they help each other
    and say to their companions, “Be strong!”
The metalworker encourages the goldsmith,
    and the one who smooths with the hammer
    spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, “It is good.”
    The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.
“But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
“All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.
For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
    little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
“See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
    new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and reduce the hills to chaff.
You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
    and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the Lord
    and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
“The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
    and the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert
    the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know,
    may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
“Present your case,” says the Lord.
    “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.
“Tell us, you idols,
    what is going to happen.
Tell us what the former things were,
    so that we may consider them
    and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,
    tell us what the future holds,
    so we may know that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
    so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
But you are less than nothing
    and your works are utterly worthless;
    whoever chooses you is detestable.
“I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes—
    one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads on rulers as if they were mortar,
    as if he were a potter treading the clay.
Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know,
    or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
    no one foretold it,
    no one heard any words from you.
I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
    I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.
I look but there is no one—
    no one among the gods to give counsel,
    no one to give answer when I ask them.
See, they are all false!
    Their deeds amount to nothing;
    their images are but wind and confusion.

  • Isaiah 41:1-29

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”
Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
    you islands, and all who live in them.
Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices;
    let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
    let them shout from the mountaintops.
Let them give glory to the Lord
    and proclaim his praise in the islands.
The Lord will march out like a champion,
    like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
    and will triumph over his enemies.
“For a long time I have kept silent,
    I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
    I cry out, I gasp and pant.
I will lay waste the mountains and hills
    and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands
    and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
    along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
    and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
    I will not forsake them.
But those who trust in idols,
    who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’
    will be turned back in utter shame.
“Hear, you deaf;
    look, you blind, and see!
Who is blind but my servant,
    and deaf like the messenger I send?
Who is blind like the one in covenant with me,
    blind like the servant of the Lord?
You have seen many things, but you pay no attention;
    your ears are open, but you do not listen.”
It pleased the Lord
    for the sake of his righteousness
    to make his law great and glorious.
But this is a people plundered and looted,
    all of them trapped in pits
    or hidden away in prisons.
They have become plunder,
    with no one to rescue them;
they have been made loot,
    with no one to say, “Send them back.”
Which of you will listen to this
    or pay close attention in time to come?
Who handed Jacob over to become loot,
    and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord,
    against whom we have sinned?
For they would not follow his ways;
    they did not obey his law.
So he poured out on them his burning anger,
    the violence of war.
It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand;
    it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.

  • Isaiah 42:1-25

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Isaiah 40:1-2 ‘warfare is over’: “God desires his people to be happy. He knows we are not in a strong, vigorous state, and we do not honor his name when we are lacking in holy joy. Let the sinners be uncomfortable. But as for God’s people, it is his great joy that they should be happy. The Lord bids his prophets and preachers again and again to comfort his people. We are often in a condition of warfare or under the chastising rod, but now the Lord appears graciously to his servants and says, ‘Your warfare is over and your chastisement is ended.’ Now the Lord returns in mercy and grants forgiveness of sins.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 40:3 ‘drawing near to God’: “This voice was John the Baptist’s who came to proclaim the coming Savior. That was the best comfort God’s people could have—the coming of the Lord. So it is now. The joy of the church is the coming of the Lord, and to each one of us the greatest source of joy is the drawing near to us of our Lord.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 40:5 ‘Glory of the Lord … revealed’: “Jerusalem’s misery is to end and the Lord’s glory to replace it; comfort will come to the city (v. 2) and every person will see God’s glorious salvation (cf. 52: 10) in Messiah’s future kingdom (Hab. 2:14; Rev. 21:23; cf. 11:9). mouth of the LORD has spoken. This language is used for confirmations also in 1:20; 58:14; 62:2.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 40:6-8 ‘All flesh … flower fades’: “Isaiah elaborated on how transitory humanity is: here today, gone tomorrow. People pass away like plants under the hot breath of the withering east wind. James used this illustration to teach the folly of trusting in material wealth (James 1:10, 11). Peter used it to illustrate the passing nature of everything related to humanity (1 Pet. 1:24, 25).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 40:9 ‘Zion … good tidings … Jerusalem … good tidings’: “Like a messenger on a mountain, to be seen and heard by all, the prophet called on the city to proclaim loudly to the rest of Judah’s cities the good news of God’s presence there (cf. 2:3). Behold, your God! The restoration of Israel to the land is to include the resumption of God’s presence in Jerusalem after many centuries of absence (Ezek. 43:1-7; Rev. 21:22, 23; cf. Ezek. 11:22, 23).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 40:11 ‘gentle and lowly of heart’: “Jesus our Savior is here described as Jehovah God. Here is divinity: not Jehovah the man of war but Jehovah the shepherd of Israel. Here is the fire of deity, but its gentle, warming influence is felt, and the consuming force is veiled. Greatness connected to gentleness and power linked with affection now stand before us. Love and mercy are joined with omnipotence and wisdom. Such is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the conquering captain of salvation, but he is gentle and lowly of heart as well.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 40:12 ‘Reflections’: “The Scripture also teaches the immensity of God. It says in Isaiah, ‘Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?’ (40:12).
“Imagine going out millions of light years into space and finding a body so vast that you could throw all our solar system into it. Like throwing a shovelful of coal into a furnace, it would simply swallow up our solar system and go on. After you’ve thought of all that, remember that God contains all that. Remember that God is outside of all things and inside of all things and around all things. Remember that our God made it. That is the immensity of God.
“The Holy Ghost is bigger than all the universe. … ‘Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket’ (40:15). You know, it’s awfully hard to get a Christian scared. It’s hard to get him panicked if he really believes in God. If he’s just a church member, you can get him panicked. But if he really believes in God it’s very difficult to do it.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God I

Isaiah 40:12-17 ‘The power of God’: “The poem begins with two questions (v.12) that have only one answer: “God! God created all that is.” These are followed by more questions (vv.13-14) that have only one answer: “No one! Yahweh alone is God.” Though the nation of Babylon looms large now, it is time to gain a clearer perception of reality. As with all nations, Babylon is like a drop in a bucket, like fine dust compared to the majesty of God (vv.15-17). Lebanon is mentioned because of the heights of its mountains, yet does not compare with the loftiness of God.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 40:25 ‘the infinite and incomparable God’: “When I was explaining the infinitude of God I pointed out that there are no degrees in God. God is not at the top of the heap in an ever-ascending perfection of being, from the worm on up until finally we reach God. On the contrary, God is completely different and separate, so that there are no degrees in God. God is simply God, an infinite perfection of fullness, and we cannot say God is a little more or a little less. ‘More’ and ‘less’ are creature-words. We can say that a man has a little more strength today than yesterday. We can say the child is a little taller this year; he’s growing. But you can’t apply more or less to God, for God is the perfect One; He’s just God.
“Sometimes when we speak of perfection we use the word excellence. Did you ever stop to think what that word means? It means ‘being in a state of excelling,’ which implies a comparison to something or somebody. Excellence in a musician means that he is a better musician than the other musicians. If he has a high degree of excellence, we could say he has perfection in his field. He doesn’t, but we could use the word.
“But when you come to God, He says, ‘To whom then will ye liken me, or shall l be equal?’ You don’t compare God. We say that God is incomparable, and by that we mean that God stands alone as God, that nothing can be compared with Him. Isaiah was very strong here, and he wrote some very beautiful and eloquent language, telling us that we must not compare God with anything or anybody—anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God I

Isaiah 40:28 ‘Neither faints nor is weary’: “God was not too weak to act on their behalf, nor was fatigue an obstacle for the Creator in caring for His people (cf. vv. 29, 30). Though even the young and strong become tired and fall, the Ancient of Days never does. unsearchable. To the human mind, God’s wisdom is not fully comprehensible in how He chooses to fulfill His promises to deliver Israel. Paul saw a further illustration of this truth in God’s plan for the final restoration of Israel (Rom. 11:33; see Is. 40:13).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 40:31 ‘wait on the Lord’: “See 8:17; 49:23. There is a general principle here that patient, praying believers are blessed by the Lord with strength in their trials (cf. 2 Cor. 12:8-10). The Lord also expected His people to be patient and await His coming in glory at the end to fulfill the promises of national deliverance, when believing Israel would become stronger than they had ever been.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 41:2 ‘one from the east’: “The Lord anointed Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, to accomplish His righteous will by conquering Babylon in 539 B.C. and allowing some of the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem (cf. 41:25; 44:28; 45:1). He founded the Persian Empire and ruled from c. 550 to 530 B.C.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 41:4 ‘first … last’: “God existed before history and will exist after it (cf. 44:6; 48:12; Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13). I am He. It is legitimate to translate the two Hebrew words thus represented by ‘I am’ (see also 42:8; 43:10, 13; 46:4), a messianic title appropriated by Jesus frequently as explicit testimony to His deity (e.g., Mark 13:6; 14:62; Luke 21:8; John 8:28, 58; 13:19). The title comes originally from the Lord’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus 3:14.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 41:8-20 ‘Israel’s Final Deliverance’: “This passage begins with the reassurance to Israel that it is indeed God’s chosen nation. Referring to Israel as ‘the descendants of Abraham My friend,’ Isaiah shows that Israel’s status as a chosen nation is based on the Abrahamic Covenant, and on the basis of this same covenant, God will someday bring about a national salvation of Israel. Therefore, Israel has nothing to fear from humanity and has only the Lord to fear. Also, at the time of Israel’s restoration, the Gentile nations that have come against Israel will be defeated (verses 11-13). Those nations characterized by anti-Semitism will cease to exist. Israel will be victorious and will thresh the nations (verses 14-16). As for the faithful remnant who survive the Tribulation (verses 17-20), God will miraculously provide water for them. Their survival will be based on God’s miracles. When the people are brought back into the kingdom, the land will be reforested with seven types of trees that have great value. The purpose of God’s miraculous works is to let Israel see, know, consider, and understand who God is and that He is the One in whom they must believe and trust.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 41:18 ‘God provides’: “God’s people may be hungry and thirsty, and their anxiety may be great. Their cupboards may be bare. The flocks may be cut off from the fold, and there may not be any cattle in the stalls. But God can feed his people. We may seek water and find none, but he can open rivers in the hills and fountains in the valleys. We must not distrust the God of providence. Many or his children have been brought to their last loaf, and yet they have not starved. But we must understand this verse primarily in the spiritual sense. God’s people often have times when spiritual things are at a low ebb—when we cannot find any joy and scarcely any hope, when we look into our own heart, when all seems as dry as the earth after a long autumn drought. We have no power, no strength, scarcely any desire for spiritual things. But then God in his grace lifts us to great heights of joy. We leap and laugh and rejoice. The Lord turned our captivity into freedom, and he filled our mouths with laughter and our tongues with singing. And he did it all quickly too. God can do things for his people, even wonderful things, that they did not look for. This text is about God’s promises for your physical needs and for your spiritual ones.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 41:22-23 ‘what will happen … come hereafter’: “God challenged the idols to prove their competence by predicting future events, as the Lord has done regarding ‘the former things,’ i.e., the raising of Cyrus (v. 2), the repulsion of the Assyrians from Jerusalem (chs. 36; 37), and the healing of Hezekiah (ch. 38).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 42:1-4 ‘Servant Songs’: “In these chapters (40-55) are four servant songs, so-called because of their particular reference to God’s servant (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12). The exact identity of the servant has been intensely debated. Mentioned are historical figures such as Moses, Jeremiah, and Cyrus; an ideal figure of the past, present, and/or future; the nation of Israel itself; and the remnant of Israel in Babylon. The best explanation centers around the Hebrew concept of corporate personality, which subsumes the individual and a group under one reality with little distinction between the two (cf. Rowley). This idea best explains the interrelationship of the singular and plural references to the servant.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 42:1-3 ‘God the Father delights in His servant’: “This prophecy is clearly about the Lord Jesus Christ. The title he holds is ‘servant,’ the servant of God the Father. Above all others, Christ was the servant of the highest condescension when he became the servant of servants, though he was and is the King of kings. Christ is also the Father’s ‘chosen one.’ He is first. There is none so choice as Christ. The Father delights in his Son, and this delight is infinite. The Father delights in his person, and he also delights in the work Christ has accomplished. The delight of the Father is in Christ, and he delights in us because we are in him. If indeed we are members of Christ, he is well pleased with us for Christ’s sake. “I have put my Spirit on him.’ That was publicly done when Christ was baptized in the Jordan. The Spirit without measure rests and abides on him, our covenant head. Christ’s justice will come to the nations, and we should rejoice that it is so. We Gentiles are no longer excluded. At first the word of God came to the Jews only, but God has given the man Christ Jesus to allot us, and he has brought forth justice to all. Jesus was gentle, retiring, meek, and quiet. His testimony was a powerful one but not a noisy one. He sought no honor from people. He frequently forbade the healed ones to tell of his miracles. He often slipped away rather than come into public notice. He was not contentious. He did not seek to put out the Pharisees, who were like smoking flax. He was never hard toward the tender ones but always gentle as a nurse among her children. Now it is often found that where there is quietness and meekness, there is still great firmness of purpose. Noise and weakness go together, but quietness and strength are frequently combined as well (see v. 4).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 42:6 ‘I, the Lord’: “Beginning with 41:13, the Lord’s self-identification is frequent (41:13; 42:6, 8; 43:3, ll, 15; 45:5, 6, 7, 18; 48:17; 49:23; 51:15). His personal name is the one He explained to Moses as specially symbolic of the unique relationship He bore to Israel (Ex. 3:14, 15; 6:3). Here, that covenant name guarantees His ministry through the Messiah-Servant. covenant to the people. The Servant is a covenant in that He personifies and provides the blessings of salvation to God’s people, Israel. He is the Mediator of a better covenant than the one with Moses, i.e., the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6, 10-12) … light to the Gentiles. Simeon saw the beginning of this fulfillment at Christ’s first coming (Luke 2:32). He came as the Messiah of Israel, yet the Savior of the world, who revealed Himself to a non-Jewish, immoral woman by the well in Samaria (cf. John 4:25, 26) and commanded His followers to preach the gospel of salvation to everyone in the world (Matt. 28:19, 20). The church, made up mostly of Gentiles grafted into the trunk of blessing (cf. Rom. 9:24-30; 11:11—24), fulfills this promise; so does the future kingdom on earth when the Servant will use Israel to enlighten all the nations of the earth (49:6; cf. 19:24).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 42:7 ‘open blind eyes … bring out prisoners’: “Jesus fulfilled these words (9:1, 2; Matt. 4:13-16) when He applied them to miracles of physical healing and freedom from spiritual bondage during His Incarnation (Matt. 11:5; Luke 4:18). Under the Servant’s millennial reign on earth, true spiritual perception will replace Israel’s spiritual blindness and her captives will receive their freedom (29:18; 32:3; 35:5; 61:1).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 42:14-17 ‘Coming of the Messiah’: “Next Isaiah prophesies the events of the second coming. These prophecies follow after words about the first coming of the Messiah (verses 1-13). With the second coming, God will no longer be silent. He will heal Israel’s spiritual blindness and bring judgment upon the Gentiles.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 42:18-20 ‘deaf … blind’: “Israel is called ‘My servant’ (v. 19; 41:8; 44:21) and ‘My messenger’ and was perfectly fitted with the truth. However, Isaiah’s commission to prophesy highlighted the spiritual deafness and blindness of Israel (6:9, 10; cf. 22:14; 29:11; 32:3). They were deaf to the voice of God and blind to spiritual reality and duty.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

 

My Thoughts

We have several memorable memorizing verses in these three chapters.  We have Isaiah 40:3, a voice of one calling in the wilderness.  We have Isaiah 40:31, with those who have hope in the Lord, soaring like eagles, with renewed strength, running without growing weary, and walking without fainting.

But then we have the hidden gems.  When Jesus turns to the followers of John the Baptist, Jesus does not simply say “Yes.”  He says that the blind see and the deaf hear.  In part, Jesus is quoting Isaiah 42.

But to start off, Jacob’s sins will be forgiven and the debt is paid.  Not at that moment, but some time in the future.  Jesus paid the debt on Calvary, if they just believe.  It is important that these two verses are followed by the foretelling of John the Baptist, for they are linked here and as cousins and as messengers to the world.

Isaiah 40 then talks about how we are like the grass that withers and the flowers that fade and fall to the earth, but the Word of God will endure.  We do not have long to get our act together.

Then Jesus is portrayed as the Shepherd and then as the Judge.  Jesus will judge and all nations will be found worthless.  I know of many people that think their little corner of their country is God’s country.  That attitude is quaint and nice, but it becomes dangerous.  You do not see the corruption and sin in your midst.  You may easily see the sin in the bigger towns around you, but that does not mean that the sin does not exist at your doorstep.  God is not going to judge a nation by comparison.  The nation either worships God in Truth or they do not, and this passage says that all nations are worthless.

But then Isaiah 41 starts with the nations being renewed.  I got interrupted in a Sunday school class recently and my idea never was developed fully, but in Revelation all the nations will be destroyed in favor of a one world order (which the UN wants to establish), but then during the millennium reign, there are other nations that worship God in Jerusalem.  It seems that if God destroys all the nations, mankind still hates a vacuum and nations will again sprout, but that may not be what this means.

But the Israel that has no enemies must be during the millennium reign.  Even with God calling Jacob a worm.  Compared to the Creator, we are quite wormlike.

Rev. LaHaye speaks of seven types of trees of great value, but Isaiah 41:18 only mentions four by name: cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive.

The rest of Isaiah 41 calls out all false gods.  The true God demands that they prophesy.  He demands other things, but these gods are not real.  They cannot perform even the simplest of tasks.  Their images are but wind and confusion.

And Isaiah 42 starts with one of the Servant Songs, followed by a reminder that God is the Creator.  It is then that God reminds Israel and Judah that they are blind and deaf.  Yet, when Jesus came, He healed the blind and the deaf.  But when He talked in parables, He said for those who have ears to hear, let them hear.  This ties back to this chapter of Isaiah.  The physical blindness and deafness can be cured, but the spiritual blindness and deafness could remain.  We need to open our hearts to Jesus and not just our ears and eyes.  Why did Jesus cure someone by saying that his sins were forgiven?  One, only God can forgive sins, but also to tie the two together: the physical and the spiritual.  Jesus came to mend both; give us physical strength and spiritual healing.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort for God’s People, part 1: 1. The Gospels quote verse 3 in reference to John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. What does that imply about the identity of Jesus?
“2. How can you ‘prepare the way’ in your life for Jesus? What needs leveling or shoring up?
“3. Jesus comes as Shepherd (v.11) as well as King. What sort of sheep do you feel like: Cradled? Content? Wandering? Caught? Lost? Why?
“Isaiah
40:12-31 Comfort for God’s People, part 2: 1. What ‘grass and flowers’ (v.6) or ‘idols’ (v.19) of this world today seem awfully powerful to you? How much do you depend on them? By comparison, do the promises of God just seem like words right now, or do they provide you with hope? Why?
“2. What sort of complaints do you hear today from non-Christians? From Christians? How might you answer them from the truths of this chapter?
“3. When have you most recently felt like God must have lost your address or phone number? What fears and thoughts arose in your mind? How might the truths of this chapter help restore strength to you?
“4. Practically and theologically, how does one ‘soar like an eagle?’ Compare verse 31 with Exodus 19:4 and Deuteronomy 32:10-11. How is learning to hope in God (v.31) like a fledgling bird learning to fly? How has God ‘caught’ you when you have fallen instead of flying? In what way is he teaching you to fly now?
“Isaiah
41:1-20 the helper of Israel, part 1: 1. What world problems today seem to be beyond solution? What forces appear to you to be in control? Do you react to these problems with: Helplessness? Cynicism? Sorrow? Disgust? Hope? Why?
“2. What does this chapter show us of God’s involvement in human history? How should this affect our attitude toward world problems?
“3. If God moves heaven and earth in order to protect and save his people, how should that knowledge affect your prayers? Your worship? Your attitude in hard times? Your priorities and purpose in life? How might meditating upon the picture of God in chapters 40-41 help you grasp this truth?
“4. How can you be ‘little’ and ‘worm-like’? What ‘mountains’ and ‘hills’ are there in your life today? If you compare your faith to Israel’s threshing sledge, how ‘new’, ‘sharp’, and ‘many’ are your ‘teeth’?
“Isaiah
41:21-29 the helper of Israel, part 2: 1. in whose predictions of the future do you place your faith? Are there any ‘idols’ in your life whose wisdom or advice you credit above God’s? What will you do to change that attitude?
“2. Where do you see God at work in history? in your own life? What new perspective have you gained from this chapter on God’s wisdom? On dependability?
“Isaiah
42:1-9 the Servant of the Lord: 1. In what ways does Jesus fulfill this picture of God’s servant? Which of those qualities have you experienced recently?
“2. Acts 13:47 and 2 Timothy 2:24-26 extend this image of ‘the servant’ to apply to all believers. In light of that, what does this passage say about your mission? Your family? Your work? Your priorities? Your character? How does this encourage and challenge you?
“Isaiah
42:10-17 Song of Praise to the Lord: 1. How are we called to imitate God’s actions in this song (see Ac 26:18 and 1Pe 2:9)? Who has played that role for you? How might you ‘gasp and pant’ for people with whom you work?
“2. What ‘idols’ are you tempted to look to in your life? How might this passage help you? Where do you wish the light would shine in your darkness now?
“3. Create a ‘new song’ (v.10) of praise to God, each person adding a verse or stanza based upon this section.
“Isaiah
42:18-25 Israel Blind and Deaf: 1. Are there times in your past when you were deaf or blind to the obvious will of God? How was it obvious, now that you look back? Did God give up on you?
“2. If God needed to gain your attention today, where would you place yourself on the scale of 1 (deaf) to 5 (all ears)? Are there any areas of your life where you might still be turning a deaf ear or blind eye?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

Each chapter is divided as noted above.

It is a shame that our younger son works in the public school system.  As a music teacher in an elementary school, he has challenged all his grades, from kindergarten through fifth grade to write their own music, and the classes have performed some of their own music.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

One Comment

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  1. Thanks for sharing this idea. Anita

    Liked by 1 person

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